Film As Reflection: Making Sense of MIRROR

Tarkovsky: Poet of cinema, sculptor in time. Each film of his, a deeply meditative exploration into the mind of an individual, whoever that may be. Here, Tarkovsky quite literally turns the lens on himself, understanding that every protagonist an author writes is, in essence, an avatar for himself – just as Woody understands this, and as does Tarantino. So, why not just put your heart into it and actually physically make the character yourself? In MIRROR, Tarkovsky nobly attempts to tell the entirety of his life story alongside the quintessential moments of modern Russian history in under two unforgettable hours. In a way, this is, along with his entire (and criminally small) filmography, a study of memory and childhood and nostalgia and presented as dreams – or nightmares – in a manner that few filmmakers could outside of the Soviet collective. He asks himself in each film, over and over, exercising his soul and his demons, “who the fuck am I?” His filmography is a journey of self-discovery and identity, of dilemmas such as where he comes from, what he’s doing here, and where he’s going to end up, struggling to make sense of the world and his place in it. Stating that the only thing everyone in the world has in common is that we’re all alone in it.

MIRROR, more than any, is Tarkovsky’s blood, sweat and tears filtered through celluloid. He grabs his pen and a camera and looked at himself in the mirror, these ideas illustrated every time a character looks disarmingly down the lens, at us. Tarkovsky, a man with youth on his mind and rebellion in his heart speaks to us directly, as we pan past an ANDREI RUBLEV poster on a wall, eavesdropping on a private phone conversation, a scene which would fit just as easily into VOYAGE OF TIME as in MIRROR, and he says, perfectly summing up any artist and author’s eternal internal struggle that,

“Words can’t really express a person’s emotions.”

And he’s absolutely right.


Written by Bryson Edward Howe

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